REVIEW: ‘Komi Can’t Communicate’ Episode 1 — “It’s Just, I Wish I Could Speak”

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Komi Can't Communicate Episode 1

Imagine having a case of social anxiety that is so strong that it leaves you unable to speak out loud with anyone even though you want nothing more than to chat and make friends. Well, this is the case for Shouko Komi in Komi Can’t Communicate. Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 1 is a Japanese Netflix Original anime series animated by OLM and directed by Ayumu Watanabe. The anime is adapted from the VIZ Media published manga series of the same name created by mangaka Tomohito Oda. The voice talent for the cast includes Aoi Koga (Love is War) as Shouko Komi,  and Gakuto Kajiwara (Fire Force) as Hitohito Tadano,  other notable  Rie Murakawa (Re: Zero) and Rumi Ookubo (Talentless Nana) are voicing the roles of Najimi Osana and Omoharu Nakanaka,

The series’s premise centers on Shouko Komi and Hitohito Tadano, two high school students that happen to meet when they are put into the same class and seated next to each other. Her classmates regard Komi as the most popular girl in their school for her elegant and stoic beauty. However, only Tadano notices that behind Komi’s beautiful appearance, Komi suffers from social anxiety, which has resulted in having issues communicating with others. The truth is that Komi doesn’t want to be perceived as popular or unapproachable. All she really wanted was friends. And so Tadano makes it his mission to help Komi on her quest to make 100 friends.

Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 1 – “It’s Just, I Wish I Could Speak” kicks the series off to a great start. In this episode on Komi’s first day of school, she quickly and unknowingly receives an overwhelming surge of popularity due to her stoic beauty and refined elegance her classmates perceive her to have. Meanwhile, Tadano starts his first day of high school, intending to just blend into the background and not make any waves. However, Tadano’s plan to have an average, ordinary high school life changes once he meets and gets to know Komi.

First and foremost, Komi Can’t Communicate is an anime about creating friendships and forming meaningful connections with others. Glad to say Episode 1 does an excellent job getting that point across right away. The comedic moments can felt a little abrupt in a melodramatic and laughable way. The comedic relief in the show also  gives balance to the tender heartfelt moments. It is precisely these heartfelt moments that pull at my heartstrings that make this anime so great.

One moment that touched me in this episode was the way the animators capture Tadano and Komi’s chemistry when they are communicating with one another nonverbally by writing notes to each other on the chalkboard. While a good portion of this exchange happens without either character speaking out loud, a lot is still captured in this scene between the two of them.

Tadano taking the time to communicate with Komi in a way she was most comfortable in allowed her to communicate with someone for the first time. This moment in the episode shows how Komi takes her first steps towards communicating with someone in her school life for the first time. She opens up about her anxiety to Tadano and explains how her social anxiety affected throughout junior high school. And now that she is communicating with someone in her class for the first time, she is opening up and expressing how badly she wants to change despite her anxiety.

When it comes to the characters, even though Komi doesn’t say much out loud, besides some softly stammered words here and there, she still comes off as a very well-written character. The way her social anxiety is depicted in the series feels real and makes the viewer feel empathetic towards her. Once more is revealed about Komi’s character, you can’t help but feel for her and also root for her as she takes steps towards opening up to communicate and make friends with others. And then there is Tadano, who comes off as a straight-man character in what looks to a school filled with eccentric characters. He seems to be the one that will be the voice of reason among some of the more peculiar characters in their school.

What I love about Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 1 the most so far is that it feels like a refreshing look at the slice-of-life high school anime. Particularly when it comes to the show explores how anxiety can take shape and affect people in different ways. What I am looking forward to the most about this series is watching how Komi works to overcome her fears while making new friends along the way.

For its first episode, Komi Can’t Communicate sets the new anime series off to a great start. This anime has the potential to give a refreshing look at the slice-of-life high school anime genre as it explores a comedic but also empathetic look at how social anxiety affects someone. Episode 1 does an excellent job of setting the tone for the series as it exhibits that this is a series about forming meaningful friendships. I can’t wait to see what hijinks arise as Komi and Tadano work towards making more friends together.

Komi Can’t Communicate airs weekly exclusively on Netflix in the United States.


Komi Can't Communicate Episode 1
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TL;DR

For its first episode, Komi Can’t Communicate sets the new anime series off to a great start. This anime has the potential to give a refreshing look at the slice-of-life high school anime genre as it explores a comedic but also empathetic look at how social anxiety affects someone.